Posts Tagged ‘fall fun’

Photo: Salvatore Vuono

What was your favorite part about celebrating Halloween as a kid? Did you spend weeks planning your costume, like my then-10-year-old son who sculpted one out of cardboard and duct tape? Did you hit the streets as soon as school let out, not to return home until every doorbell in the neighborhood was rung?

My favorite memories were separating my candy cache into categories: bubblegum, candy bars, and lollipops. Then the tallying began. I carried the tradition over to my own family, sitting on the floor with my children helping them sort their trick-or-treat booty (lucky for me they don’t like Snickers).

But who says Halloween is just for the kiddies? The autumn holiday has grown up over the years, and there are plenty of adult-oriented parties happening all over the country. Check out these infamous haunts.

West Hollywood Halloween Carnaval

The streets around Los Angeles are always jam-packed, but on October 31st, Santa Monica Boulevard is filled with costumed revelers. Organizers estimate 500,000 show up to the country’s largest Halloween street party.

Greenwich Village Halloween Parade

Not to be outdone by their West Coast rivals, New Yorkers flock to Greenwich Village to partake in the ghouly festivities, including live music from 53 bands.

Freakfest in Madison, Wisconsin

Madison may be the state capital, but it remains a college town at heart. For decades, students descended onto State Street for an “unofficial” Halloween party. The spirited nature lives on with plenty of libations and entertainment.

Salem Witches’ Halloween Ball

Can there be a more witchy town than Salem, Mass.? This time of year, the city embraces its notorious history. AOL’s CityGuide rated the annual Salem Witches’ Halloween Ball one of America’s top parties.

New Orleans’ Haunted Tours

If you were a ghost, where would you want to wander eternity? Why not the Big Easy? New Orleans long has been rumored to host many spirits of the dearly departed. Take your chances of ghostly encounters on one of the French Quarter tours—Hauntings, Vampire, Cemetery, or Voodoo. Then share your tale over a potion at one of the many Halloween parties, often a dress rehearsal to Mardi Gras.

• Halloween Historical Highlights

The celebration dates back 2,000 years to the Celtic festival of Samhain. Southern colonies honored the harvest with “play parties.” The immigration wave of the 1800s brought Celtic traditions, like costumes, to the United States. Today, Americans spend approximately $6 billion annually on Halloween.

Anne Baye Ericksen is a freelance writer based in Simi Valley, Calif.

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Zoos across the country extend their hours in October for the annual Boo at the Zoo.

Typically, the nighttime event is designed for families and appeals to kids of all ages.

Check each zoo’s website for times and pricing information.

  • Palm Beach Zoo provides a safe place for kids to trick-or-treat. Young children enjoy face painting, sand art, storytelling, bounce house, games, crafts, and roving animal encounters. Don’t miss the Paws for a Cause Animal Art Expo, where you can buy one-of-a-kind-pieces created by the animals.  Boo at the Zoo is October 21, 22, 23, 28, 29, and 30.
  • Boo at the Zoo is a fundraiser for the zoo and the Children’s Hospital in New Orleans, held October 21, 22, 28 and 29.  The Audubon Zoo‘s fun-filled night includes: trick-or-teat houses with candy, a Ghost Train, haunted houses (scary and non-scary), games with prizes, and entertainment.  The event is designed for children ages 12 and under.  A limited number of tickets are sold to keep the atmosphere relaxed.
  • The Philadelphia Zoo offers two spooky weekends of fun on October 22, 23, 29, and 30.  Everyone is encouraged to wear a costume, join the parade, and march around Bird Lake.  Take a stroll through the zoo’s not-so-scary Extinction Graveyard where you’ll be shocked to learn which animals could be extinct within 15 years.
  • Nebraska’s Lincoln Children’s Zoo hosts Boo at the Zoo every night from October 26 through the 30.  This “merry not scary” event provides 40 trick-or-treat stations.  The goodies are generously provided by local businesses.
  • The Milwaukee County Zoo on October 21 and 22 features carved illuminated pumpkins throughout the zoo, a musical light show, and a haystack maze.

Jim Twardowski, RN, is a travel writer based in New Orleans.

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